As a property owner and taxpayer in Pullman I have significant concern over the upcoming elections for City Council. Currently in the running for Ward 1 are Joshua Coke, Bill Paul (incumbent), and Gary Johnson (write-in candidate). Ward 3 has Ann Heath (incumbent) and Judy Krueger running. While there are positions up in Ward 2, they are running unopposed. After reading recent letters, articles, and commentaries on the candidates as well as attending the League of Women Voters Forum I feel this election has become all about Wal-Mart rather than Pullman. While all the candidates are focusing on growth it is apparent some candidates are for the growth of a healthy tax base in Pullman, while others are solely focused on not letting Pullman grow if that means Wal-Mart comes to town. While everyone has a right to their opinion there has been name calling and histrionics used to intimidate voters by supporters of some of the candidates. Herein lies the problem.
The City Council is not one dimensional. They are here to serve what is in the best interests of all Pullman residents. Each ward has their own special needs, but a ward’s needs must be balanced with what is best overall for Pullman as well. Both Judy Krueger and Gary Johnson seem to be running on one issue, Wal-Mart. As active members of PARD they lay claim to belonging to a special interest group that is heavily invested in them winning seats on the City Council. However, there is a problem with this situation. The decision of whether or not Wal-Mart should build a store in Pullman does not lie with the City Council nor will it ever come up for a vote. Yet, Judy Krueger keeps saying she would vote down a Wal-Mart. I have to make two assumptions here: 1) Judy Krueger clearly doesn’t know what being a City Councilperson entails and 2) Judy Krueger didn’t listen to other members of the City Council who answered that question by saying Wal-Mart will never come up for a vote. This is not the kind of person I want making decisions on my behalf nor Pullman’s. Other than being against Wal-Mart, I don’t know where Gary Johnson stands on other issues as I haven’t heard him speak to his vision for Pullman or even be willing to give an interview. Again, this is troubling, because I don’t really know what he envisions for Pullman nor what he expects to contribute once the Wal-Mart dust has settled.
As Judy Krueger and Gary Johnson appear to be running on a no Wal-Mart platform I urge the people of Pullman to carefully consider what types of candidates you want representing you on the City Council. Do you want candidates who are supported by a group that appears elitist at best and at worst perpetuates statements with no basis in fact, stoops to using the dead and children to make ridiculous arguments, and whose only design is to stop Wal-Mart? Or do you prefer candidates such as Ann Heath, Joshua Coke, and Bill Paul? These candidates have a vision for Pullman that extends beyond a one dimensional hatred of a corporation. Rather they all share a vision for Pullman that creates a sustainable and healthy economic environment. A vision that will allow Pullman to grow and offer the types of services that are important to people: fire, police, library, and other basic services. In my mind there really isn’t too much to decide.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Today I'm including the letter I've written to the Daily News about my take on the upcoming elections. Unfortunately it won't be included, but echoes many of the themes we have seen recently published.
Posted by Victoria Dehlbom at 9:14 AM